Entries Tagged as 'commentary'

PBS updates their network logo

PBS logo Old vs New 2019There are a few brands that get a lot of attention when they change their logo.

The first one that comes to my mind is Pepsi. You may have other examples.

Some people think that when companies change a logo, it’s meaningless. We marketers call those people soulless. There’s nothing we can do to help them….or their pocket protectors. 😉

When the big TV networks’ logos change, it’s still a big deal. While the big 5 networks (ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and PBS) themselves seem to be losing the cultural influence they once had, due to the preponderance of programming choices from streaming sources…broadcast TV networks still get a ton of viewers.

So PBS (the Public Broadcasting Service) changing its logo this week on the eve of its 50th anniversary is worth noting from a branding and marketing perspective. PBS’s programming remains unique in many areas because it offers so much content not found on commercial or cable services. It is also a vital brand to over 300 PBS affiliates around the country.

So let’s take a look at what PBS did.

PBS Logo 2019Right off the bat, the new PBS logo is blue. But not just ANY blue. That’s PBS Blue. Corporations, like PBS, love to stroke their corporate egos by creating a unique color and making up words about what that blue signifies.

You know what PBS Blue signifies? BLUE! Sheeesh! Next item.

For perspective purposes, I should let you know that the circles (aka “the shield”) on the old and new logos are pretty much the same size. That might give you some clues to the changes.

Within the circle (or shield) the heads in the new blue logo are bigger…not a bad move in the digital age. And while it may look like PBS didn’t really change the heads on the shield that much…they actually did.

The “neck” is shorter in the new logo, the noses are slightly less pointed and (in a part I find hysterical, given the brand) the noses are slightly raised.

Also bigger (quite obviously) is the PBS wordmark. I think bigger is better for this logo. It’s designed in a sans-serif font that was (here we go again) custom designed for PBS and is know as PBS Sans typeface.

If you’re thinking it looks very similar to about 3 or 4 fonts from your Microsoft Word font catalogue, you’ll get no argument from me. Those are your tax dollars at work, folks.

The final word? It’s a nice redesign and better than the old logo (although I thought the PBS logo of 1984 was pretty classic – see the video link below). I think if I was custom designing a font, I could have crafted something more visually interesting then what they ended up with…but they didn’t ask me now, did they? 🙂

WATCH THIS if you want to see a cool video on the history of the PBS logo.

 

good work(s) do NOT go unnoticed

Catholic540AM StAnn Oct2019 Peter K. O'Connell

Catholic 540-AM Divine Mercy Radio broadcasting live from St. Ann Catholic Church in Clayton, NC in October 2019 (l-r) Pastor of St. Ann’s Fr. Peter Grace; Catholic 540-AM Volunteer Director of Programming & Production Peter K. O’Connell and Divine Mercy Radio Chief Engineer Keith Flanary

We each have talents to share.

Hopefully, when our talents are good enough, people pay us and we make a living. I’ve been fortunate in that vein with my voiceover work since about 1982.

Maybe you believe, as I do, that when you have good fortune in life that many do not (making money, having a job etc.), we should try to give back to our communities in whatever ways we think can have the most positive impact.

I’m not taking just about our financial contributions…although those are great!

This kind of contribution is about that kind of community work where we are doing the work…whatever that means for each of us…based on the charity or organization we each support.

Wherever we exercise our extra efforts, our good works do not go unnoticed.

Buffalo Niagara Sales and Marketing Executives Past Presidents 2013

Founded in 1942, the highly respected Buffalo Niagara Sales and Marketing Executives gathered their active Past Presidents for this 2013 photo. 

Maybe similar to your experience, my community work started after college, as a member or sometimes chairman of a volunteer board. My community work has supported professional, civic, educational and Catholic groups who requested my help. Looking back from today to about 1987, there have been a lot of groups.

Quality not quantity is the main thing, though, and my work helped each of those groups in some way; I certainly felt good doing the work. Yet I admit, as I got older and had a family, I cut back on my charity activities…the two main reasons being time and I was just tired, complete with a kind of “been there, done that” attitude. Decades can to that to a person.

In 2016, when I moved to Raleigh, North Carolina (having lived in Buffalo, NY since birth), I realized that I needed to start over in a number of ways, including my community work.

Catholic 540 AM Divine Mercy Radio On-Air Pledge Drive Spring 2019

Live on the air during the Catholic 540-AM Divine Mercy Radio Pledge Drive in Spring 2019. (l-r) Divine Mercy Radio’s Volunteer Director of Programming & Production and Pledge Drive Host Peter K. O’Connell with co-host John Dornan, Director of Communications for the Diocese of Raleigh

Having done some volunteer voiceover work for a Catholic radio station in Buffalo, I decided to see if Raleigh had a Catholic radio station. I found Divine Mercy Radio. This was 2016 and Divine Mercy Radio was broadcasting on just a pair of low-powered FM’s at the time (WSHP and WFNE). They were broadcasting programming from two national radio networks: EWTN Global Catholic Radio and Ave Maria Radio. But my new Raleigh Catholic radio friends were on a mission to grow and I was up for the ride.

They needed voiceover and radio help…no one at the station had professional radio experience. But they had heart and a can-do, no-quit spirit. I began overseeing the on-air production work for the two stations. In February of this year, when the secured the AM-540 frequency they asked if I would also volunteer to oversee this 10,000 watt radio station’s programming too. WETC-AM became Catholic 540-AM • Divine Mercy Radio and our team was off to the races!

This radio station is 100% listener supported (by its own choice). Our friends at the Diocese of Raleigh have kindly endorsed us since we started but they do not fund us. We are an independent radio apostolate.

Catholic 540-AM Divine Mercy Radio Raleigh North Carolina

Divine Mercy Radio Chief Engineer Keith Flanary, Board Chair Betty Rogosich and Volunteer Director of Programming & Production Peter K. O’Connell during the Spring 2019 On-Air Pledge Drive

With a very dedicated group of my fellow volunteers (nobody is getting paid) the station has achieved a great deal in only 8 months. This includes successful live on-air pledge drives, on-site remotes at parishes and community events (I got to host both the drives and remotes, which is great fun) and many other events. All this with little more than duct tape and chewing gum (well, maybe a little more…but not much more).

Volunteering at the station selfishly allows me to achieve two things: participate in the greatest parts of radio without the corporate drama that can sometimes accompany such a gig (sans drama, radio is still one of the best gigs ever) and also to use my particular talents to grow a really worthy volunteer enterprise.

And as I said, our good works don’t go unnoticed.

The radio station board (I’m just a volunteer, not a board member) asked that I represent Catholic 540-AM at the 20th Annual EWTN Catholic Radio Conference in Alabama. EWTN Radio has over 375 radio network affiliates, many more established and significantly larger than Divine Mercy Radio.

In addition to insightful education and the sharing of best practices among attendees during the national conference, the EWTN Radio Network also recognizes the best work among their radio affiliates for on-air production. There are only three categories, winners take all.

Peter K. O'Connell, Volunteer, Divine Mercy Radio

Volunteer Director of Programming & Production Peter K. O’Connell accepts the EWTN Global Catholic Radio Crystal Microphone Award for Best Affiliate Top of the Hour ID for Catholic 540-AM Divine Mercy Radio

Catholic 540-AM • Divine Mercy Radio took home the Crystal Microphone for Best Affiliate Top of The Hour ID.

Think about that for just a moment.

375 EWTN U.S. Radio affiliates (many long established with very talented radio pros), only 3 possible awards to win and Divine Mercy Radio in Raleigh/Durham takes home the hardware.

We have been on the air for only EIGHT MONTHS and we snagged a very prestigious national award from the largest religious media network in the world.

We don’t do all this volunteer radio work for for awards or accolades.

But this national recognition IS encouraging, as well as humbling, for all of us.

PLAY THE AWARD WINNING TOP OF THE HOUR ID.

 

EWTN Foundress Mother Mary Angelica was famous for saying, “Unless you are willing to do the ridiculous, God will not do the miraculous.” I don’t know if this award is miraculous but given what has been accomplished by our team just since this past February, it feels a bit ridiculous in the best possible and most complimentary way for EVERYONE involved.

WETC_logo_Catholic_540AM_DivineMercyRadioEach and every volunteer at Divine Mercy Radio won this award because without their work in so many areas, there can be no Top of The Hour ID and no award to win…because there would be no radio station.

WE ALL won.

OUR good works didn’t go unnoticed.

Neither will yours.

only 11 more states to go!!!

AlabamaFor the few poor souls that continue to read this blog, you are aware that I am on a quest – before I die – to stay overnight in all 50 states.

As you’ll recall, my rule is I cannot just drive through the state.

As I write this from the Admirials Club in Charlotte, NC. I am returning from Alabama (Birmingham)!!!

So here’s the updated count of the states I have officially visited in my life:

1. Alabama!!!!!!
2. Arizona
3. Arkansas
4. California
5. Colorado
6. Connecticut
7. Florida
8. Georgia
9. Illinois
10. Indiana
11. Iowa
12. Kansas
13. Kentucky
14. Louisiana
15. Maine
16. Massachusetts
17. Maryland
18. Michigan
19. Minnesota
20. Missouri
21. Nebraska
22. Nevada
23. New Jersey
24. New York
25. North Carolina
26. North Dakota
27. Ohio
28. Oregon
29. Pennsylvania
30. South Carolina
31. South Dakota
32. Tennessee
33. Texas
34. Utah
35. Vermont
36. Virginia
37. Washington
38. West Virginia
39. Wisconsin

Thus, I am left with only these 11 American states still to visit:

40. Alaska
41. Delaware
42. Hawaii
43. Idaho
44. Mississippi
45. Montana
46. New Hampshire
47. New Mexico
48. Oklahoma
49. Rhode Island
50. Wyoming

If you’re going to travel, you might as well make it fun!

Visiting Stoystown, PA, Pennsylvania and the Flight 93 Memorial  

The Tower of Voices, Flight 93 Memorial, Stoystown, PA 2019

The Tower of Voices is conceived as a monumental, ninety-three feet tall musical instrument holding forty wind chimes, representing the forty passengers and crew members. The intent is to create a set of forty tones (voices) that can connote through consonance the serenity and nobility of the site while also through dissonance recalling the event that consecrated the site.

I’ve traveled a lot across the state of Pennsylvania in my life…mostly for business purposes.

On one of my trips there this summer, I actually did a little web surfing and realized that I had bypassed a very important place in my travels.

Stoystown, PA.

My personal feeling is that a lot of us have not visited this hallowed place. My point here is that each of us should.

It is in Stoystown, near Shanksville, that a common field became a field of honor on September 11, 2001. The 40 passengers and crew of United Flight 93 commandeered the plane from the terrorists, who hijacked it and were planning to crash it into the U.S. Capitol. The plane ultimately crashed in Stoystown, killing all on board.

A display within the museum of the Flight 93 Memorial

A display within the museum of the Flight 93 Memorial

Not for reasons of malice but likely more for reasons of geography, greater attention has always seemed to me to be paid to the crash sites in New York City and Washington, D.C. Not one of the three sites is any less important than the other…the tragedies were horrifically equal.

I write this today so that you may know, as a now proud visitor to the Flight 93 Memorial at 6424 Lincoln Highway, Stoystown, PA 15563, I believe you too should visit this Memorial.

For your soul, for your patriotism and for your faith in your fellow man to do the brave thing when it is the hardest thing, you must visit the Flight 93 Memorial.

Flight 93 National Memorial's Wall of Names

Flight 93 National Memorial’s Wall of Names, honoring 40 passengers and crew members of United Flight 93 killed when the hijacked jet crashed at the site during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

It is vast in scope, as one might imagine a remote, open field to be. There are three main sites to visit at the Flight 93 Memorial – you should visit them all and spend quiet time at each of them, as I did.

It is a beautiful place, especially in its simplicity.

It is an elegant place in its design elements and layout.

It is a reflective and thoughtful place where you learn about the people who died in defense of their country, the messages they left for their loved ones as events unfolded and the selfless bravery they each showed when bravery was their only defense.

18 years ago today, I know where I was and what I was doing.

This summer, I also knew where I was and what I was doing.  And I am eternally grateful that I did it.

Crash site of Flight 93 at the Flight 93 Memorial, Stoystown, PA

The boulder in the distance represents the crash site of Flight 93 on September 11, 2001, killing the 40 passengers and crew on board who – in their bravery -thwarted a planned terrorist attack on the United States Capitol.

‘hell no’ to the voiceover exposure offer

-Source: NEW YORK POST August 21, 2019

I was – all at once – shocked and not at all surprised to read an exclusive story this morning in the New York Post about a major business organization completely disrespecting a well-respected, very well-known and honored performer.

The organization wanted to offer the artist “exposure” (i.e. no fees or expense payment). Not even a car ride.

According to the story, with accompanying confirming quotes from the performer – the great singer Darlene Love was recently asked by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) to perform her iconic song “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” at the NYSE’s 96th annual Christmas tree lighting, coming up in December.

Everybody with a brain in the music industry knows and respects who Darlene Love is…but the NYSE thinks after 60 years as a professional, Darlene Love needs exposure.

Exposure, not payment. From the world’s largest stock exchange, an organization profiting from trading billions of dollars daily.

Exposure not payment. For a singer, actress and music industry legend since 1959 to sing one of her biggest hits, an iconic song, live at – what I feel very sure is – a fairly expensive Christmas event.

Exposure, not payment. At Christmas!

To the offer, Love ultimately said not no, but hell no.

As a voice actor, you need to say the same thing to an “exposure” offer – whether it be a grossly low fee or no fee at all.

If you’ve been in this business for more than a minute, some jackass (man or woman) has come to you with a voiceover job that couldn’t offer you a fee but could offer you “great exposure” and that “might lead to more business down the road”.

Unless the offer is a charity you would otherwise support (so, without the “jackass”), the offer is baloney and will lead to nothing more than you devaluing your own business worth, while also being taken advantage of in a very public way by an unscrupulous business person you shouldn’t be working with in the first place.

Even those who are just starting out, who feel they need the exposure – if you don’t see your true value as a VO artist (and thus being willing to work for free where other ARE being paid) —then don’t be a VO artist! You not only disrespect yourself but you disrespect the rest of us in the voiceover industry. I am personally very not OK with that.

To the exposure offer in any industry – but especially voiceover – don’t just say no, say hell no.

source-connect is the standard and i’m a standard bearer (that means i have source-connect in my voiceover studio)

Voiceover Peter K. O'Connell Source-ConnectThere are nice things about being in a club.

I’m not talking about the leather-chair, cigar smoking clubs out there (I’ve been members at those kind of clubs…they are not that big a deal).

I’m mean like clubs where members share a common interest and can talk about things you each know about and, as a member, you can learn from people who share your interests…like audio production and voiceover. Turns out there’s a kind of club for that.

Technology brought a lot of change to the industry, some of it bad (pay to play voiceover web sites) and some of it good.

One of the good things was Source-Connect, which uses codecs and the internet to offer recording studios, media producers, voiceover talents like me and other audio professionals high-quality options to record and monitor recording sessions remotely.

ISDN AUDIOCONNELL.COMSource-Connect is (has been) replacing ISDN, which was the industry standard for remote recording. ISDN always sounds great, no doubt about that. The down side of ISDN is that it was expensive to connect to ISDN studios with over priced codec boxes and copper wiring via the telephone company’s system to make recording sessions happen.

After a while, between criminals in the street trying to steal expensive copper wiring and criminals at the phone company jacking the ISDN rates up (because they didn’t want to support an unprofitable service like ISDN)…studios and talent needed a new remote audio recording tool.

Enter Source Elements and Source-Connect. The faster the internet got, the better signals got – Source-Connect  allows super high quality remote audio recording with extremely low latency (if any at all).

Studios anywhere in the world can connect with me on Source-Connect (username: audioconnell) and the recording can be voiced by me here in Raleigh, NC voiceover studio and recorded on the other end (again, anywhere in the world) if they also have Source-Connect.

Oh, and with Source-Connect, a connection can be bridged to an ISDN recording studio if the studio only has or prefers ISDN. So I am still ISDN compatible, without the expense on my end.

That’s why I am a card carrying member of the Source-Connect club. The service makes it easier for my clients and it also make it easier for me.

Easy is the new black.

If you’d like to record with me using Source-Connect, just let me know. Voice with you soon!